The Third Sex

The society I grew up in, it has a rather aversive attitude towards the eunuchs (and transgenders).

To an extent that they are considered lesser of humans who does not get the social status of a regular man or woman; to an extent when the eunuchs live separately from their families- in ‘eunuch colonies’, don’t get proper education as they are very often abandoned by their families and what they mostly do for a living is prostitution.

The word ‘hijra’ (the Hindi/ Bengali/ Urdu word for eunuch) is derogatory in South Asian languages- something you do not use in ‘sophisticated’ company, more a slang than anything else. Sadly it is not much different in the English-speaking world either. I don’t know about the social statuses of that this less than fortunate group in the context of the more civilized Western society, but if ‘the word’ is used as a derogatory term- there is little chance of anything being different to a vast degree- after all.

While our biologist friends can give us a perfectly reasonable scientific reason of what causes a person to be a man, woman or a member of ‘the third sex’- I am more concerned with the way society treats this group. I find it funny in having to spell it out- but there is more to an individual than what ‘gender’ you can categorize him (or her or whatever) as- it’s time we became aware of it.

Just as sad it is that anyone will find it funny when a group of Indians with a disgusting sense of humour passing through a photograph of Serena and Venus Williams wearing a sari- saying the following-

‘You will die laughing at how ‘hijra’ Venus and Serena looks’.

Here is the picture:

No, I’m not laughing.

I see two American ladies wearing YOUR traditional clothing, I see two ladies belonging to a different racial group than you wearing YOUR traditional clothing- I see these two ladies are trying to embrace your culture. I see nothing funny in that, I think it is nice.

It’s time you stopped laughing too.


simz said...

great post sweety...i so get your point. btw, eunuchs are very much males...who basically have been castrated.. they actually have no psychological, societal or physical confusion regarding their gender identity..but yes..most third gender males in india do castrate a sense you could say that not all eunuchs are third gender people and vice versa =)

Rugrat said...

Actually more appropriate English word for 'hijra' would be 'transgender'. Anyhow, that's just semantics.

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